Skip to main content Skip to Navigation Skip to Footer
page banner image

March 2018 is Nutrition Month:The Potential of Food!

Timmins, Ontario — Thursday, February 22, 2018

March is Nutrition Month. For 2018, dietitians will focus on the potential of food.

POTENTIAL TO FUEL: Nutritious snacks in the right portion sizes can be part of healthy eating. Almost half of all Canadians say that eating a balanced diet is challenging for them because they are so busy. They often skip meals. Joëlle Zorzetto, public health dietitian, says, “Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day. By planning ahead and by keeping fruit, nuts, cheese, crackers, cut up veggies, or yogurt, it will make it easier. Be aware of portion sizes by preparing a serving instead of eating out of the family size bag or box. Listen to your hunger cues. Are your bored, tired or stressed? Skip distracted snacking while looking at screens, driving or working.”

POTENTIAL TO DISCOVER: Caregivers can help others discover the power of food, by fostering healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook. Public health dietitian Victoria Hall recommends to get children to be part of the plan from the beginning. “Shop for groceries together. Build on lessons they learn in school, such as math, social studies, media literacy, spelling, science and reading. Keeping it fun! Make a theme night or turn your kitchen into a restaurant or reality cooking show. Be a role model. Try a new food, describe the flavour and be adventurous to inspire your eaters to do the same. Be cool about the mess. Spills and accidental messes happen. Remain calm and keep towels handy for cleaning up.”

POTENTIAL TO PREVENT: Lifestyle factors, including what we eat, can influence our health. Public health dietitian Kaitlyn Comeau explains: “A nutritious diet can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and some types of cancers. Almost 80% of premature stroke and heart disease can be prevented through healthy eating, being active and living smoke-free.”

Registered dietitians agree that the best eating pattern is one that you enjoy and can stick with in the long run. The eating patterns that have been the most researched for their health benefits include the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets. Vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, milk, cheese, yogurt, fish, seafood, poultry, canola and olive oils are common to these diets.

POTENTIAL TO HEAL: Nutrients are needed for the growth and repair of your body, and also keep the immune system healthy. Healthy eating is an essential component of the treatment in some conditions, namely diabetes, celiac disease, swallowing problems, heart conditions and cancer. Dietitians can help you select and prepare the foods you need to meet your nutrient needs. You can find a dietitian at You can get answers to your nutrition questions for free at Eat Right Ontario, 1-877-510-5102

POTENTIAL TO BRING TOGETHER: In a recent Ipsos poll, 30 per cent of Canadians said it’s challenging to find time to eat meals with friends and family. Mrs. Zorzetto adds, “The biggest barriers to eating together are busy schedules. It takes creativity to balance family schedules, but it’s worth the effort because everyone benefits when you eat in the company of others! Remember sharing meals with others benefits everyone. Increased intake of vegetables and fruit, decreased intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, students with better grades are only some of the benefits of eating together.”

Studies done on the benefits of family meals define the sharing at least four meals together per week. For more pointers on family meals, finding guidelines of kitchen skills based on age for children, recipes and more on the potential of food, visit

Mrs. Zorzetto concludes, “Stay tuned! Local dietitians across the region will host activities to expand on the potential of food.”

The Porcupine Health Unit is located in Northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ontario, with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.